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Photographing Pets:
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Formal Portraits
Some people prefer a more formal portrait of their pet, often within a studio setting. In this case, try a head and shoulders depiction of the animal looking into the camera. This is when you’ll want to work closely with the owner in posing the animal and positioning it against the backdrop that you’ve chosen. The ideal situation is a trained dog, which will sit or stay on command.

Try to set up your shot in advance. You’ll get cleaner lines and less clutter by removing the animal’s collar and leash. On the other hand, some people enjoy pictures of small, long-haired dogs with ribbons in their hair, a kitten in a basket, or a pet dressed up in a funny costume—it’s all up to you or the pet’s owner.

Reader photo by Mary-Ella Keith, San Diego, CA

Candid Shots
The secret is to have your camera ready at all times, and be ready to shoot at a moment’s notice. If your cat enjoys curling up near a particular window, or your dog likes to romp in the backyard, you can often anticipate a pet’s endearing behavior and plan ahead to capture it with your camera. Don’t overlook props; you can get some great action shots of your dog leaping to catch a Frisbee, or a kitten pouncing on a toy. The animal will be stimulated by the activity, and you’ll get some colorful, interesting images at the same time.

Reader photo by Joan Eisenbeis, Festus, MO

Grooming
A clean, well-groomed subject will always yield better results. Examine the corners of the pet’s eyes, and gently remove any tear matter. Also, watch out for drool that is common with some dog breeds. Keep a small towel handy to wipe up around the dog’s mouth whenever necessary.

4 Tips For Perfect Pet Photos
• Use a telephoto lens to move in close and a wide angle lens to show the animal in its environment.
• Use fill flash to get catchlights in the animal’s eyes.
• Shoot both formal portraits and candid images for variety.
• Make sure the animal is well-groomed before shooting pictures.

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